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Podcast Saudi: The media gathering steam, adding listeners

Podcasts have surely become a companion of choice, with listeners tuning in more than ever before, and what’s clear is that there is a 100% continued and growing popularity of podcasts in Saudi

80% of podcast listeners get their podcasts from the Apple platform The report showed that in Saudi, 67% of podcast listeners tuned in at least once a week Stats in the MENA show that women listened to podcasts five times as much as men

Podcasts have surely become a companion of choice, with listeners tuning in more than ever before, and that’s why it’s clear that there is a 100% continued and growing popularity of podcasts in Saudi. And this isn’t surprising to see especially that Saudi Telecom (STC) has been an advocate of podcasts for a while through Thmanyah, a leading Saudi podcast platform with 1.6 million monthly listeners. With their growing popularity across the Kingdom, it was only time that research into the matter came into play. 

Rising Giants Network , a story-telling firm that is focused on scripting, producing, and building the world’s most immersive podcast experiences, has launched its first-ever study into podcast consumption in Saudi.

The report has revealed several interesting findings such as:

  • 80% of podcast listeners get their podcasts from the Apple platform. Anghami is also up-and-coming in KSA and changing perceptions
  • Saudi Podcast listeners say that the main language of their favorite podcast is Arabic (20% preferred English in Saudi, But n the MENA, English listeners reached 32%)
  • Entertainment, with all of its subgenres, came in the lead in terms of preferred content, followed by art, sports, religion, news, wellbeing, current affairs, education, comedy and finally technology

Exploring when podcasts are listened to, the top times podcast listeners tend to tune in are:

  • 41% while doing housework/chores
  • 36% while driving
  • 31% on the way to work
  • 28% while getting ready in the morning
podcast
Image source: Arab News

Basel Anabtawi, chief executive officer and co-founder of Rising Giants Network, told Arab News: “The growth of podcast consumption year on year shows that podcasting is on a trajectory that is outperforming itself every year.”

The report showed that in Saudi, 67% of podcast listeners tuned in at least once a week, 30% listened to podcasts on a daily basis, while 22% did so 3 times a week.

Those aged 25 to 34 were found to be most likely to listen to podcasts every week (72%) followed by those aged 45 to 54 (71%), proving that younger audiences were not alone in listening to podcasts.

Apple’s domination could be due to the high penetration of iPhones, according to Anabtawi.

Despite Spotify’s investments in the region, including collaborations with Saudi-based Kuwaiti pop star Bader Al-ShuaibiJordanian musical artist Issam Al-Najjar, and a Ramadan-themed podcast with the Obamas, only 18% said they preferred the platform for podcast listening. Spotify only switched on its podcasts in the Kingdom last month, compared to Anghami which goes as far back as 2017.  

A 2020 report titled “Podcasts in MENA: State of the Industry” showed that after an initial dip at the start of the pandemic, 56% of survey respondents in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the UAE listened to more podcasts by the end of 2020, Arab News reported.

Stats in the wider MENA show that women listened to podcasts five times as much as men, and 56% of listeners tuned in socially with family, as opposed to solitary listening, according to an insightful report by 4DC Markettiers.